MIAGuide

The 17 Most Romantic Restaurants In Miami

Our favorite date night spots, because you can do better than leftover Pollo Tropical and Nicolas Cage movies on the couch.
The 17 Most Romantic Restaurants In Miami image

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings / @eatthecanvasllc

Whether you’re planning your thousandth date or first date with a stranger from an app who listed their occupation as three fire emojis, we can all agree that not all restaurants are ideal for romance. Many places are too loud. You might be seated uncomfortably close to a party of 24 celebrating several birthdays. Or worse, things are too quiet and you have to listen to each other slurp pasta for 45 minutes. The good news is you won’t have to worry about any of that at these spots. And at least you’ll get some great food out of it.

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings / @eatthecanvasllc

Vietnamese

Downtown

$$$$Perfect For:Date NightSpecial OccasionsOutdoor/Patio Situation
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If you take someone to Tâm Tâm and their admiration for you doesn't immediately increase by 75%, this is not a person you want in your life. What kind of monster wouldn't be grateful to know about a restaurant that's such a perfect mix of fun and good? The colorful Vietnamese spot serves food you'll be able to bond over in an atmosphere that'll prove you're the opposite of dull. Some dishes—like the ribs and wings—are a bit messy for a first date. But just go wash up in the bathrooms, which are, to say the absolute least, conversation starters.

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings / @eatthecanvasllc

$$$$Perfect For:Big Groups
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Maybe it’s all the trumpeting cherubs, the giant crystal chandelier that feathers out into the red dining room, the plush velvet banquettes, or the fact that the cocktail list is signed XOXO Erba—but we get the feeling this restaurant is flirting with us. Erba was designed for date night. The Italian food isn’t too heavy, there’s an ideal amount of space between tables, and servers appear from thin air to refill your wine without being intrusive. Even bread service is romantic—you can stare lovingly at each other above the glow of a fluttering butter candle (which you get to eat once it’s melted). Portions are large enough to enjoy as entrees, but we like sharing the porchetta chop and beef cheek agnolotti for some insight into how selfish (or collaborative) your date is.

With real candles, brick walls, and jazz playing at the perfect volume—Jass in Buena Vista is almost too perfect a date night spot. But luckily, there’s nothing pretentious about this place that’d make your date think you’re trying too hard. Despite the white tablecloths, Jass isn’t uptight at all. Plus, the Mediterranean restaurant serves good food too. Definitely order the clay pot of lamb, which comes encased in a dome of delicious brioche that your server will slice open at the table. And know that the live music usually starts around 8:30, because that’s a big reason why you’re coming here too. 

Krüs Kitchen in Coconut Grove has an atmosphere that does for date nights what gamma radiation did for Bruce Banner. The space is intimate but not cramped—with a domed ceiling, scattered wooden tables, and shelves of natural wine and pantry supplies (which you can buy to-go, in case you want to continue the date at home). The menu is a seasonally rotating mix of crudo, pasta, and more. Because it changes often, we can't guarantee what you'll encounter here. But it will make you sad to leave the table.

Next Door is a wine bar run by (and right next door to) Key Biscayne’s Flour & Weirdoughs. And it’s a perfect option for a chill date with a bottle of wine and some excellent dishes involving bread. The menu is small, but as good as you’d expect from one of Miami’s best bakeries. They have an outstanding choripan, oysters, and a few sourdough pizzas. Nothing on the menu costs more than $20 either. The space is small, but perfect for couples and not too loud to have a conversation. If it’s nice out, they slide open the windows to take advantage of the ocean breeze. 

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings / @eatthecanvasllc

$$$$Perfect For:Date Night

La Fresa Francesa is a French restaurant that feels like a multi-abuela design collaboration. The three distinct dining rooms have a cluttered charm that makes this place the epicenter of Hialeah date nights. The art ranges from Girl With A Pearl Earring to random needlepoint landscapes, and doilies are abundant. But the food is also worthy of an important night with someone you like. It's mostly straightforward (and very good) takes on classic French bistro dishes: steak frites, cassoulet de toulouse, French onion soup. But La Fresa's location in one of Miami’s most Cuban neighborhoods is evident in dishes like the foie gras and guayaba pastelito. 

We must warn you: there will be a wait at Katana. It will be long too (somewhere around an hour, most likely). This is always the case at this small, popular sushi restaurant, which never takes reservations. Still, we love it here, especially when we're drinking beer and sitting next to someone we really like. It's one of those sushi restaurants where the plates float through the dining room on a little stream and it’s a good intro to couple teamwork if you two aren’t quite assembling Ikea furniture yet. And there is a bar conveniently located next door where you can have a beer and wait for the text that tells you your table is ready.

Maybe this isn't the first time you were taken on a date to a gas station (oh, high school, you were so weird) but it will be the best gas station date you'll ever go on. That's because inside this Coconut Grove gas station is El Carajo, a classic Spanish restaurant where you can drink wine, eat tapas, and have a generally wonderful time. There's an old school vibe to this place—so maybe skip it if you're looking for something new and trendy. But we've always had fun here eating bacon-wrapped dates, fluffy Spanish omelettes, crispy croquettes, and drinking a bottle of wine. Speaking of wine, there are tons of bottles for sale inside the gas station, which you can buy for your meal at retail price plus a reasonable corkage fee.

The name sounds like what your friend asked you to call him after he tried ayahuasca once, but thankfully Jaguar Sun is much cooler than that. It's intimate, appropriately dim, and the service is always on point (empty glasses never stay that way for long). If drinks are as important to you as the food, go here. This place makes outstanding cocktails. The mostly pasta menu is small enough to save you from having to “um...” your way through deciding on something to split. Plus, the noise level vibrates in a constant sweet spot, so you'll be able to hear whether your date just said "rigatoni" or "Where's the bathroom?"

NIU Kitchen is a great place to bring someone who appreciates natural wine and a flawless pan con tomate. There are no shortage of outstanding dishes here, including things like cold tomato soup with mustard ice cream and the ous, a delicious bowl of poached eggs and truffled potato foam. Plus, it’s just a really lovely place to lazily hang out with a bottle of wine among stylish Miamians. And after you eat, you can walk 100 feet down the street to NIU Kitchen's sister bar, NIU Wine, which is also on our guide to first date bars.

Jazz and pasta are date night staples, and you'll find both at this great Downtown spot. Whether a first or 50th date, you’ll be glad you came here—if only to add this to your roster of places to bring friends, who will hopefully appreciate this little Italian restaurant in the side of a Downtown office building as much as you do. Come Thursday through Saturday for the live jazz, and order the fazzoletti di formaggio e pera, which you will, unfortunately, have to end up sharing after your date tastes this great pear and ricotta pasta.

Miami can’t agree on a lot: speed limits, politics, and literally everything else. But Mandolin might just be the one thing the entire city can get behind. It’s beautiful, consistent, and delicious, all of which make it a very safe bet for a date—even if you don’t know (or have never met) the person you’re bringing here. You'll need a reservation (and you might have to make it a month out) to guarantee one of the coveted outdoor tables. Snagging a table for lunch is much easier though.

So what if your parents went on their first date here? It’s stood the test of time, and it’s still where you bring someone you want to talk to for hours without interruption. The Gables classic is small, romantic, and gives you what every successful date needs: intimacy. With all the soundproofing in the dining room, you might forget you’re not the only couple in the restaurant listening to Italian love songs. Plus, you can order a bottle of wine, an appetizer, two entrees, and a dessert for under $150. And the old school Italian food is delicious. 

For those dates when you don’t want to look like you’re trying too hard, but obviously still need to try just a little hard, go to Pinch. This Upper East Side spot is casual enough where your date won’t be scared that you’re about to propose, but they also serve consistently excellent food worthy of a special occasion. After a bite of the burger or gambas al ajillo, your date will be confident that you are the kind of person who knows where to find very good food, which might lead to marriage eventually—especially if you take them back for brunch when Pinch serves their massive guava-stuffed french toast.

Tropezón is a really fun gin and tapas bar on Española Way in South Beach. Just about every table in the restaurant is perfect for couples, the cocktails are outstanding, and the excellent tapas will give you something to snack on while you try your best to be charming. If you succeed in showcasing that charm and things go well, there's also a great nightcap spot within walking distance: El Salón. It's a dim cocktail bar where you can sip a martini while trying to contort your facial muscles into a formation that could be considered "flirtatious."

Not only does Macchialina make some of the best pasta in Miami, but it’s also just a really romantic place to eat a meal. The indoor seating is dark, intimate, and has a noise level that won’t require you to scream “spaghetti pomodoro” at your server three times in a row. Although you will probably be screaming when you taste the pasta here, which is stunning. If you're up for it, get as much dessert as you can fit in your stomach. It's always unbelievably good here.

You have to hand it to the French—they invented the world’s sexiest kiss. So when it comes to romance, they know what they’re doing. And it doesn’t get more French than Frenchie’s in Coral Gables. It’s casual enough for a first date and charming enough for a desperate couple that found a babysitter and could use a one-night vacation to Paris. This spot does a convincing Parisian impression with its chalkboard menu and seductive red lighting. Between courses, the parchment paper on the table reads like the tea leaves of a successful date—with oily trails of butter from tender escargot and a smattering of tangy steak tartare. Just bring a mint if you’re planning to practice your French with some kissing after dinner. 

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